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VioQuest Pharmaceuticals Announces Issuance of New U.S. Patent for Lenocta

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Patent covers compositions and use of Lenocta for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Basking Ridge, NJ -- VioQuest Pharmaceuticals (OTCBB: VOQP) today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued the first patent for the company’s investigational product candidate Lenocta™ (sodium stibogluconate). U.S. Patent No. 7,416,723 entitled "Therapeutic compositions and methods useful in modulating protein tyrosine phosphatases," encompasses novel compositions including Lenocta for the treatment of cancer and a broad range of other diseases.

"Based on Lenocta’s demonstrated anti-tumor activity against melanoma, renal cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, and other cancers both alone and in combination with other approved immune-activation agents, including IL-2 and interferons, we believe this product candidate represents a promising approach to treating cancer," said Michael D. Becker, president and chief executive officer of VioQuest Pharmaceuticals. "We are also enthusiastic about the new FDA priority review voucher program, which could enable us to accelerate development and commercialization efforts for Lenocta in the treatment of leishmaniasis."

Pentavalent antimonial compounds such as Lenocta are considered as a first-line treatment for leishmaniasis, a protozoan infection usually found in tropic and sub-tropic countries. The pharmacological mechanism of action for pentavalent antimonials in treating leishmaniasis is not fully understood, but research has indicated that the therapeutic effect might be mediated via cellular targets. Researchers at The Cleveland Clinic recently discovered that Lenocta inhibits specific protein tyrosine phosphatases, which are relevant in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

VioQuest Pharmaceuticals licensed rights to sodium stibogluconate from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and is developing the drug as a protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor for a range of potential indications. According to the results of both preclinical and clinical trials:

  • Lenocta has marked and broad anti-tumor activity in vivo as a single agent at a dosage that may be clinically achievable and well tolerated;
  • The demonstrated synergy between Lenocta and various cytokine therapies in vivo indicates that combination therapy with Lenocta could significantly improve efficacy of current cytokine therapies in cancer treatment; and
  • Because Lenocta inhibits certain protein tyrosine phosphatases with a distinct mechanism of action, it may be useful as an alternative therapeutic for cancers that are non-responsive or resistant to conventional therapies.

Lenocta is in a Phase 2a clinical trial as a potential treatment for melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and other solid tumors. For information about the study, please visit and use the search term "NCT00629200." The clinical status was recently updated at the 2008 ASCO annual meeting in an oral presentation by Dr. Aung Naing from MD Anderson.

VioQuest Pharmaceuticals is planning to utilize historical published data and an observational study of approximately 400 U.S. Army patients to support a New Drug Application (NDA) for Lenocta. The approval of this NDA could position VioQuest Pharmaceuticals to receive a priority review voucher offered through the recently enacted Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (Section 524 to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or FFDCA). Designed to encourage the development of treatments for tropical diseases, a priority review voucher will be awarded to a sponsor upon approval of a tropical disease product application. A tropical disease product application is a new chemical entity human drug application that is itself deemed eligible for priority review under the preexisting priority review criteria and is approved for use in the prevention, detection, or treatment of a tropical disease. A priority review voucher may be redeemed for priority six-month review of one new drug application submitted under Section 505(b)(1) of the FFDCA or one biologics license application submitted under Section 351 of the Public Health Services Act that would otherwise be reviewed under FDA’s standard 10-month review clock. The FDA's new priority review voucher program is scheduled to go into effect in September of 2008.

About Lenocta

Lenocta (sodium stibogluconate) is a selective, small molecule inhibitor of certain protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), such as SHP-1, SHP-2 and PTP1B, with demonstrated anti-tumor activity against a wide spectrum of cancers both alone and in combination with other approved immune activation agents, including IL-2 and interferons. PTPs are a family of proteins that regulate signal transduction pathways in cells and have been implicated in a number of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegeneration.

In addition to its potential role as a cancer therapeutic, sodium stibogluconate has been approved in many countries around the world as a first-line treatment of leishmaniasis, an infection typically found in tropic and sub-tropic developing countries. Historical published data and a large observational study conducted by the U.S. Army, including data from approximately 400 patients, will support a New Drug Application for Lenocta with the FDA. Lenocta has been granted Orphan Drug status for leishmaniasis.

About VioQuest Pharmaceuticals

VioQuest Pharmaceuticals is a New Jersey-based biotechnology company dedicated to becoming a recognized leader in the successful development of novel drug therapies targeting both the molecular basis of cancer and side effects of treatment. VioQuest’s oncology portfolio includes: Xyfid™ (1% uracil topical) for the treatment of dry skin conditions and manage the burning and itching associated with various dermatoses; VQD-002 (triciribine phosphate monohydrate), a targeted inhibitor of Akt activation; and Lenocta™ (sodium stibogluconate), an inhibitor of certain protein tyrosine phosphatases such as SHP-1, SHP-2, and PTP1B.

Further information about VioQuest can be found at

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VioQuest's actual results and experiences to differ materially from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements concern the timing, progress and results of the clinical development, regulatory processes, potential clinical trial initiations of VioQuest’s product candidates, as well as our ability to complete strategic transactions. These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as anticipates, expects, plans, believes, intends, and similar words or phrases. These statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from these statements. These statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and include VioQuest’s immediate need for additional capital to cover its current obligations and future operating expenses and fund its clinical development programs, the possibility that the results of clinical trials will not support VioQuest's claims, the possibility that VioQuest's development efforts relating to its product candidates will not be successful, the inability to obtain regulatory approval of VioQuest's product candidates, VioQuest's reliance on third-party researchers to develop its product candidates, its lack of experience in developing and commercializing pharmaceutical products, and the possibility that its licenses to develop and commercialize its product candidates may be terminated. Additional risks are described in VioQuest's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2007. VioQuest assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

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